Exeleon Magazine

Navigating the Trust Terrain – Strategies for Strengthening Business Bonds

Business Bonds

54% of businesses say partnerships drive over 20% of total company revenue, while 34% of marketers say brand partnerships are the most effective method of increasing email subscribers lists.

Indeed, strategic partnerships can be crucial for business growth, however, they’re not always so easy to form. If you’re working to develop a strong relationship with another company, it’s important to start by building a foundation of trust. Cultivating a communicative relationship that encourages both parties to be honest, clear, and comfortable about revealing their overarching goals and expectations paves the way for a long-term and fruitful relationship.

Be honest

Cut out the useless corporate jargon. Instead, be upfront, clear, and honest about your business goals. Being deliberately ambiguous, vague, or unclear implies dishonesty – which is sure to tank your relationship. A strong relationship is built by establishing trust, and trust can only be established when you’re willing to have open and transparent discussions.

This is particularly important when it comes to talking about key points like profit margins, operational costs, and even potential conflicts of interest – a trustworthy partner shouldn’t shy away from these topics. It can be useful to justify expenses by highlighting value and return on investment, which therefore reinforces the benefits of the partnership – relationships thrive when both parties involved understand its value. You can also demonstrate transparency and just how serious you are about the partnership by exposing a vulnerability; this can show you have a clear need for a relationship with this company.

It’s also useful to highlight keyways you can align strategies. So, for instance, this usually involves defining shared aims between both businesses. Considering the “value triangle” can help here. According to the value triangle, businesses generally put their strategic focus into speed, price, and quality in order to provide a successful product or service – although it’s only possible to have two qualities together at a time, and not all three. So, for example, a business either values price and speed, quality and speed, or quality and price.

Although the best way to go depends on your individual business goals (there’s no right or wrong), it helps to know whether or not your partner shares your core values here. Above all, in the beginning of your relationship, it may be tempting to assume you’ll work out the finer details later on, and instead spend most of the time getting excited about the potential new possibilities on the horizon. However, the early days are the ideal time to learn about each other’s foundational values, as well as uncover any differences in corporate culture or organizational structure, that can better help you prevent and overcome potential problems that may arise later down the line.

Get clear on your roles and responsibilities

Successful business partnerships are usually formed when two parties are either reaching for a shared goal, or have services or resources that can benefit each other. Partnerships can, however, deteriorate when the two parties fail to get clear on each of their expectations for the relationship. So, it’s essential to determine and clarify your roles and responsibilities from the get-go. Spend as much time as needed to understand both party’s expectations for the relationship, as well as which party is responsible for what. That way, there’s no doubt about the outcomes you’re expecting the partnership to deliver. Both parties also need to comprehend the needs of the other – don’t just assume you know what your partner values. Rather, take time to ask questions about their goals and needs, as well as come up with effective ways to measure that success. By ensuring you both understand each other’s needs and goals, you can both be confident the other isn’t solely working in their own self-interest.

Follow through on promises

Trust isn’t something that’s earned overnight; it takes time and effort to build. You need to prove to your partner that in reality you’re as trustworthy and reliable as you like to portray. And, actions always speak louder than words. So, be careful to follow through on your commitments and the actions you promise to take. If you fail to make good on your word, you won’t show yourself to be a valuable or worthwhile partner – and the relationship will fail.

Additionally, you can further provide value by positioning yourself as a helpful resource. Think about what you can do for your partner, and not just what they can do for you. Similarly, it also helps to prove success as soon as possible with quick wins. This is a more productive route compared to putting your resources into theoretical activities that may potentially end up being a waste of time.

Business partnerships can be an effective way to grow your operations – whether it’s through developing a new product or attracting new customers, for example. By taking care to build a business relationship based around trust, transparency, and open communication, you’ll have an easier time creating a successful partnership that provides mutual benefits for both parties.

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